Senior White House officials and congressional aides are beginning to discuss a path to averting a catastrophic debt default that could occur as early as June 1.

WASHINGTON – A recent meeting at the White House with no major breakthrough in confronting the debt limitPresident Joe Biden is launching a new phase of his campaign to pressure Republicans in the House of Representatives, as he argues that lawmakers should strip the country of its unconditional borrowing authority.

Biden will travel to Valhalla, N.Y., on Wednesday to contest it measure passed by Republican House lawmakers it would lift the debt ceiling by about a year, while limiting some federal spending would reduce spending on veterans’ care, educators and other domestic priorities. The district is represented by first-time Republican Mike Lawler, whose district Biden won in 2020.

The White House will use the trip to trumpet what it calls economic progress under the Democratic president — pointing to the number of jobs created during his term and a new emphasis on domestic manufacturing — while warning that an unprecedented debt default looms millions of jobs and increase the prospect of recession.

Back in Washington, senior White House officials and congressional aides began discussing the way forward prevent a catastrophic default as recently as June 1, in preparation for another meeting between Biden and top Capitol Hill leaders later this week. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., showed no signs that he and House Republicans were ready to abandon their debt limit proposal, and Biden reiterated that their plan was not his first choice.

“He has proposed major cuts that I believe will hurt American families,” Biden told reporters after meeting with McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. , DN.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch. McConnell, R-Ky.

In his speech, Biden also raised the specter of cuts to veterans’ aid, an issue that has become particularly sensitive in the rhetoric between the White House and Republicans in Congress. When the president suggested during the meeting that the House GOP plan could end up slashing payments to veterans, McCarthy told reporters he responded that it was “a lie.” But Biden disputed that as a lie, saying the across-the-board cuts would affect veterans aid and other vital domestic programs.

The impasse comes as the US government is rapidly running out of its legal borrowing authority, meaning it may not be able to pay its bills as early as next month unless lawmakers agree to lift the limit.

Biden also plans to spend a week abroad on a trip Japan, Australia and Papua New Guinea later this month. He said postponing his trip was “possible, but unlikely.”

With debt talks showing little progress, the White House is hoping Biden’s PR campaign β€” starting in a congressional district that will be key for Democrats seeking to retake control of the House from Republicans next year β€” will increase pressure on GOP lawmakers. , who cannot politically afford to alienate moderate voters. Lawler, a one of 18 House Republicans from a district won by Bidenis a prime target for the White House.

Still, Lawler accepted the invitation from the White House, “perhaps to their surprise,” the lawmaker said in an interview Tuesday. He said he was “a little disappointed” that Biden was spending time traveling around the district instead of talking to other leaders in Washington.

“Nobody wants to see us default. No one wants us to not raise the debt limit. But they also don’t want us to keep spending money we don’t have,” Lawler said. “When I talk to people in my community, in my neighborhood, they generally agree with my position.”

Despite Lawler’s presence at the event at Westchester Community College, Biden “will always be honest with the American people,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

β€œThe president is going to explain the impact of these current discussions that we’re having β€” the economy, how it affects real, hard-working Americans. That’s what you’re going to hear from the president,” she said. “He’s going to be very clear about that. He will be clear about what can happen.”

House Republicans, in their debt measure passed in April, seek to save $4.5 trillion in the deficit by cutting spending, eliminating tax credits for clean energy investments and reversing the Biden administration’s proposal to forgive student loan debt . The White House has made it clear that Biden will veto the bill.

Democrats, who control the Senate 51-49, have called for a “clean” increase in the debt limit without any strings attached, such as spending cuts, but any such measure requires the support of at least nine Republican senators, and most of them say they would oppose it.

While in New York on Wednesday, Biden, who launched his re-election campaign on April 25, will also hold a pair of fundraisers.

AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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